9 Netflix original series to watch in 2014

Shows from Vince Gilligan, Marvel and the Wachowskis are on the way

A whole host of new series and original programmes including House of Cards season 2, Better Call Saul and Sense8 are coming to Netflix soon, meaning you’ll no longer be plundering Emotional Sports Films featuring a Talking Dog set in 1970s Russia categories in a bid to find something to watch.

Netflix compounded its rise from a mere mail order DVD service to a paradigm-shifting distribution company last year with a raft of commissions that broke the rules for how television is both made and consumed.

The grand yet gritty House of Cards kicked things off in February and was swiftly followed up with more new offerings including an ambitious resurrection of sitcom Arrested Development and the breath of fresh air that was women’s prison drama Orange Is The New Black.

In addition to new instalments of already established shows there are plenty of exciting new series on the way, including a Breaking Bad spin-off, Andy and Lana Wachowski’s first foray into television and a cartoon about a whiskey-drinking horse. Here’s what's streaming in 2014…

House of Cards (season 2)

Ordering two seasons right off the bat, Netflix clearly had huge confidence in this murky political thriller and with good reason, its first outing having all the intrigue of The West Wing but mercifully none of the Stars and Stripes flags slowly unfurling to the patriotic swells of a brass section.

Season 2 will see Kevin Spacey's wily congressman Frank Underwood finally get 'one heartbeat away from the presidency' but face attacks from all sides. The POTUS isn't happy about Frank's back-alley politics, former paramour Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) is closing in on the truth (about Russo perhaps?) and his hollow marriage with Claire is being pecked at by the mass media. Expect icy one liners and plenty of rib sauce.

Orange Is The New Black (season 2)

Orange Is The New Black Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment

Jenji Kohan's Weeds was excellent albeit somewhat overlooked on Showtime, but her next series got the fanfare it deserved on an on-demand platform, telling the story of a white-collar criminal dropped wide-eyed and Mad Men boxset-less into a tough women's prison.

A dark comedy that seemed pitched towards the latter in the pilot, it transformed into a surprisingly macabre insight into how we selfishly cling to love in times of need, bolstered by some moving sub-plots involving the other prisoners.

Better Call Saul

Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad

OK, so we're not likely to get this AMC show (to be shown exclusively on Netflix in the UK ) until 2015, but such was the hysteria surrounding Breaking Bad that the show's spin-off centring on Walter White's crooked lawyer Saul Goodman will be very much on fans' radars from now until TX.

The show isn't without a sense of trepidation. It may struggle to reproduce the high drama of Breaking Bad with a protagonist creator Vince Gilligan has admitted is 'intrinsically undramatic', and as hilarious a character as he is it remains to be seen whether Saul can carry a comedy on his own, but it will be exciting to lose yourself in the dusty palette of Albuquerque once more.

BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman

Speaking of Breaking Bad, how about a cartoon voiced by Aaron Paul aka Jesse Pinkman that follows a whiskey-drinking horse with a bad case of ennui? Thought so.

BoJack originates from a 90s sitcom nobody remembers called Horsin' Around, but Netflix will be hoping to find a new audience with this 12-episode series. Arrested Development's Will Arnett will play the equine degenerate with Paul voicing his human sidekick.

Your answer if you've run out of Archer.

The Killing (season 4)

The Killing season 3

The Killing refused to be killed last year, saved from the chop for a final season exclusive to Netflix.

It's hard to get excited about these US remakes of Scandinavian crime thrillers, which are often akin to brass rubbings - the shape is there but none of the detail - especially when they're given a limited final season in order to expedite the mopping up of plot lines.

For ardent fans these six episodes should at least provide some closure however.

Sense8

Directors Andy Wachowski (L) and Lana Wachowski Directors Andy Wachowski (L) and Lana Wachowski

The always mind-bending output of Andy and Lana Wachowski will be funnelled into the small screen for the first time with this sci-fi series, which like the siblings' recent film Cloud Atlas will focus on a series of seperate and yet interweaving stories - here, eight people scattered around the globe who are connected by a shared, violent vision.

According to TV Line, they include a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk, an Icelandic party girl, a German safe-cracker, a Korean businesswoman, an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger.

No word on a cast yet, but Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski is on board to help write and direct, with 10 episodes expected late 2014.

Some sort of psychological drama about a family who hate each other

Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler apparently left Netflix chiefs 'spellbound' when they pitched this as yet untitled 'suspenseful family drama'.

It will centre on a family whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother returns home, which all sounds a bit Brothers & Sisters, only this is Netflix so there will probably be some sex and fratricide in there somewhere.

Narcos

Notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar has seen several film biopics but comparatively few portrayals on television.

This is set to change with Narcos, which will chronicle his life and death in a collaboration with Gaumont International Television. Details are scant, but RoboCop director Jose Padilha is thought to be on board to direct.

Hemlock Grove (season 2)

While many of the Netflix originals thus far have been just that, original, this series relied on a more bankable and well-heeled premise: sexy werewolves.

The warning of 'mild fornication, fellatio, heavy cocaine use, lesbian necrophilia and violent hemorrhaging' in the first season's trailer was indicative of the show's lust for flesh and general ridiculousness, but fans of True Blood, The Walking Dead etc might find reason to return for this second batch.

Marco Polo

Fortunately for the easily bored modern viewer, this nine-chapter series will not focus on the famous explorer's influence on European cartography but his encounters with 'astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles'. Hurray!

Billed as a gripping action-adventure, it is set to shoot in Malaysia soon and debut on Netflix in late 2014.

Multiple Marvel projects

The human race has surely had a surfeit of comic book superhero TV shows and movies in recent years, but they show no signs of slowing down.

As DC gears up for a team-up movie by binding Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman together in its next film, so Marvel sets about raising the profiles of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones. Each will get their own series, before joining forces for a climactic The Defenders mini-series.

It's a smart idea, allowing viewers to get to know each character individually then paying all their stories off in a comic book orgy of a show, but as ever will depend on how deftly each character is handled.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition